Protesters in Albany call for keeping oil trains out of NY state

Daily Freeman News  |  August 27, 2014  |  Danielle Sanzone (Digital First Media)

ALBANY >> The fight against trains that carry oil came to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s front yard this week.

About 70 people demonstrated on Tuesday outside the Executive Mansion in Albany, calling on Cuomo to ban trains that carry crude oil from entering New York state.

“Our primary focus here is to relay our message to the governor,” said Sandy Steubing, a member of the group People of Albany United for Safe Energy, or PAUSE. “He is in charge of the health and safety of the state’s residents.”

PAUSE cited a recommendation from the National Transportation Safety Board that the Federal Railroad Administration require railroads to “avoid populated and other sensitive areas” for the transport crude oil. It also noted that the Federal Railroad Administration’s Karl Alexy has said oiler tank cars cannot be built robust enough to withstand puncture in derailments at speeds of more than 30 mph.

Steubing said people can relate to the issue because many live near train tracks and because of news oil train derailments that have resulted in large explosions, like the one in Quebec last year that left more than 40 dead.

Less-serious derailments involving oil tanker trains occurred this year in the town of Ulster and the Albany suburb of Selkirk. Neither resulted in explosions, fires or injuries.

“It’s such a connecting issue,” Steubing said.

Albany resident Frank Sullivan, another member of PAUSE, said the oil train issue is one “a lot of people care about.”

“People want to hear about this and get more information. It’s a national issue, it’s a state issue, it’s a local issue,” Sullivan said, adding that PAUSE has started a door-to-door campaign to share information about oil trains.

Other demonstrators at Tuesday’s event included members of Capital Region 350 Climate Action, MoveOn.org of the Capital Region, No Extreme Energy Extraction, Save the Pine Bush and the Ezra Prentice Tenants Association. The tenants’ group comprises people who live near train tracks and the Port of Albany.

People at the rally said one way to reduce the use of oil trains is to increase reliance on renewable energy sources, like solar, wind and water.

“It seems crazy to have and build all of this infrastructure for something like oil, which has short-term profits,” said Peter Looker, a member of No Extreme Energy Extraction. He said some studies have found the state could rely completely on renewable energy within 20 years just by focusing more on those efforts.

“I’m concerned because I’m a parent,” said Looker, who lives just 500 feet from the tracks in town of Glenville. “Why risk it?”

In a prior statement, Cuomo said: “We are reviewing proposed regulations to ensure they address the critical deficiencies that New York state identified. We remain committed to ensuring the public health and safety of our residents and look forward to working constructively with the U.S. Department of Transportation and other federal agencies to better protect New Yorkers and all Americans.”

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commented 2014-08-28 01:06:49 -0400 · Flag
Please check out the full article online, especially the comments left by folks who love to push opinion, anger, name calling, opinion, guess, assumption when folks like those in this article start with fact, fact, science, physics, fact. The sad thing is more people usually listen to the name calling angry guy/gal.

Maybe science and math are too hard for most folks (the Governor?) to comprehend? Or maybe guilt stemming from the knowledge that it is disproportionate for some to live high on the hog and for others to live in fear and toxic environments every day of their lives while struggling just to make ends meet just eats at their conscience (assuming they aren’t the clinically-identified 1% psychopathic population in the world) so they have to name call and distract simply to sleep at night?

I love when commenters say, ’how far did each of these folks/quacks/tree-huggers/monastics drive to get there…" when some of us actually bought/rent homes close to our offices so we can walk to work every day, and have done so for almost 2 decades.

Welp, as they say… Ignorance is… well, ignorant.
PAUSE, People of Albany United for Safe Energy
PAUSE is a grassroots group of individuals who have come together to promote safe, sustainable energy and fight for environmental justice. We engage the greater public to stop the fossil fuel industry’s assault on the people of Albany and our environment.